Should there be an industry drive towards rotation for crew of all levels so junior crew can gain substantial, long-term experience at sea?
Captain Christoph Schaefer
With a deck department of five, I am short of at least one crewmember throughout the year. Running a two-season boat with two major crossings I am constantly behind the eight ball to meet minimum safe manning requirements and spending extra money on temporary crew. Not having a proper crew rotation scheme in place, I invariably end up losing good, competent crew and bringing on temporary crew that do not know their way around the boat as well as my permanent crew.
For all levels below [captain level] I think rotation is an excellent idea and should be implemented as far as possible. If rotation doesn’t fit the schedule, in the past I’ve placed my crew temporarily on other yachts for, say, an ocean passage for them to gain both sea time and experience on another vessel with another management and personality style. This is especially important for deck crew on yachts that don’t move a lot, like many Med-based yachts.
Captain Carlo De Amicis
Rotation is a good way for the junior crew to obtain more sea experience. In fact, on ships this kind of contract has been normal practice for a long time. Everyone should always be in favour of changes that go towards better crew working conditions on board, but we always have to keep our feet on the ground and not forget the real situation. Some questions arise: is a yacht (even a large one) comparable to a ship? I don’t think so. The ships are commercial (cruises, cargo, tankers and so forth) but is a yacht really commercial in the same way? I don’t think so.
Not having a proper crew rotation scheme in place, I invariably end up losing good, competent crew and bringing on temporary crew that do not know their way around the boat as well as my permanent crew.
Captain Mike French
The principle advantage of rotating crew is to ensure they are well rested and able to provide the 110 per cent work output required where the demands of the yacht make this unsustainable. The varied schedules and programmes of different yachts and owners mean that rotating crew with the incumbent additional staffing costs is not something that would suit every yacht or be valued by every owner. But on board yachts where there is high turnover of crew and high burn-out rates, crew rotation may be a valid solution as it is a proven factor in improving crew retention and consistent performance.
Find the full article with extended comment in issue 68 of The Crew Report - click here to download.